Advice on Advice

6 Dec

ListenToGodlyAdvice“When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it is a mere formality,” said humorist Erma Bombeck. “It doesn’t’ matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.”

I’ve had a lot of people say they wanted to give me a piece of their mind, but at the moment, they didn’t seem to have much to spare!

Most of us are better at dishing out advice than receiving it. As a young woman, I actually got pretty good at listening to my mom’s advice, and then doing exactly what I wanted to do (sometimes the opposite of what she’d advised).

The problem wasn’t that her advice was all that bad. Sometimes it was excellent. The problem was, I didn’t have an open, teachable spirit. I was stubborn. (OK, I’ll say it. I was too proud to listen.)

Dr. Gail Bones, in her book Living CrossWise, gives advice on advice. “The Bible is clear,” Gail wrote. “We need to be willing to ask for—and heed—advice.”

Proverbs 13:10 says, “Wisdom is found in those who take advice” (NIV).

I need to learn how to listen to counsel—with my heart, not just my ears—and then compare it with scriptural truth.

Good counsel might come from an wise counselor (Proverbs 11:14) or from a faithful friend (Proverbs 27:9). Godly counsel can unlock many problems!

“We are equally responsible to be available to share our wisdom by offering godly counsel to those who are coming up behind us,” Gail wrote.

Yes, I also need to learn how to give advice that is wise and biblicalsometimes comforting, sometimes challenging. God counsels us in our struggles so we will know how to counsel others! (See 2 Corinthians 1:4). Counseling comes easier for me than “listening,” but I must be sure what I share comes from the Lord’s wisdom (Isaiah 50:4; 2 Timothy 3:16).

Proverbs 10:11 explains the blessing and encouragement of godly words: “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life” (ESV). There is great power in our tongue (Proverbs 18:21; James 3:1-12).

The Bible’s wise advice on advice is simple: (1) Listen to godly counsel; and (2) Learn to give godly counsel in a godly way.

Can you think of some particularly wise counsel you received that changed your life or helped you become more like Jesus? How can you learn to be a wise adviser?

– Dawn

Graphic adapted, Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

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